Active citizenship through sport education

O'Donovan, T.M. and MacPhail, A. and Kirk, D. (2010) Active citizenship through sport education. Education 3-13, 38 (2). pp. 203-215. ISSN 0300-4279

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Sport education (SE) is an instruction model developed amid concerns about the lack of authentic, legitimate opportunities for young people to experience sport through physical education and was designed to facilitate enhanced links between experiences in physical education and those in the wider world of sport. The paper discusses how one UK primary school delivered key citizenship education learning through the use of SE. The research reported here is based on interviews with teachers and students in Year 6 at one co-education, state-run primary school. The paper highlights the possibilities for teaching citizenship through the medium of sport while recognising the central importance of the creative teaching approach rather than the subject matter of sport in facilitating the development of active citizenship. The possibilities for citizenship education through sport to be celebratory and supportive of real-world discourses are highlighted. As a solution to the overcrowded curriculum in primary schools, SE has been embraced and developed by the teachers in ‘Forest Gate School’.


O'Donovan, T.M., MacPhail, A. and Kirk, D. ORCID logoORCID:;